Bluegrass, parades, picnics and red-hot rock 'n' roll are just a few of the star-spangled entertainments on tap for Northern Virginia communities celebrating America's 205th birthday this weekend.

Fairfax City begins Independence day with a parade Saturday morning, followed by a family picnic, an afternoon of games, then an evening musical American history program at Fairfax High School Stadium capped by a rousing fireworks display.

At Alexandria's Lee District Park, there'll be a full day of Fourth festivities, including swimming, baseball games, train rides, live music and dancing, a watermelon seed-spitting contest, three-legged races and . . . fireworks at sunset.

Some pickin' and singin' by Chris Stifel and His Bluegrass All Stars and a barbershop quartet serenade will highlight the Great Falls "Old Fashioned Fourth." The Great Falls Fire Department's Annual Carnival Fundraiser and Barbeque will provide fun, food and drink before fireworks crown the evening.

Manassas Park launches its Independence Day parade Saturday morning, with the procession ending at Costello Park where games and rides for children, a watermelon-eating contest, a "beautiful baby" competition, square dancing, clogging, music and fireworks are planned.

Arlingtonians can marvel at fireworks at Barcroft Park on South Four Mile Run Drive, while the first annual Mount Vernon Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration and Family Picnic will start at noon and whoop on into the night at Mount Vernon High School.